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Blood Drive Held In Honor Of Local Boy Fighting Cancer

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Abel, a 3-year-old boy fighting cancer was honored Friday with a blood drive held in his name. The American Red Cross reached out to friends of the family and organized the drive, which will take place in the Oakdale Mall from 1-6pm.

"He's just a little boy. I mean, all the wonderful things that little boys are, but plus a little extra because he's Abel," says Donna Geetter, a longtime friend of Abel's mom, Jennifer.

In January, Jennifer Heggelke's son complained of a stomach ache. A few hours later, the 3-year-old got a shocking diagnosis. The doctor told Heggelke that her son had stage three neuroblastoma. Geetter says Abel is currently getting his 5th round of chemo therapy at SUNY Upstate Medical in Syracuse. It's an aggressive treatment that can drain a patient's blood supply.

"He ended up in the hospital unexpectedly, because she said, Abel was just staring at her. She said he was just white as snow," Geetter remembers the phone call from Heggelke.

Abel was rushed to the hospital and given a blood transfusion. The American Red Cross says it's a little known fact that cancer patients need blood supply.

"You're so focused on the medication they're receiving and the treatment and them fighting this that a lot of people don't even realize that cancer patients need blood," says Theresa Blank, Account Manager for the American Red Cross.

Friday's blood drive was held in Abel's honor to make sure other cancer patients can continue their fight.

"There are kids like Abel and adults like Abel that need blood just to fight their other battles," says Geetter.

Abel is set to return home this weekend. Geetter says the 3-year-old is fighting like a champ.

"He's been handling this with grace that I don't know any of us could ever really manage," says Geetter.

A benefit and 4th birthday celebration for Abel is planned for April 30th at the American Legion Post 76 in Binghamton. The event is from 2-6pm. All proceeds will go to Jen and Abel to help support them through Abel's treatment.